Wine Talk is a short feature here at 805 Wine Country where we go behind the wines and ask winemakers their thoughts on inspiration, journey and progression in the wine world… or whatever else may flow when the bottle’s uncorked.
What brought you to this point in time (as a winemaker, in life, or however you want to answer)?
I’ve arrived here from following my passions in life — music being one of them, winemaking being another — but there are many other pursuits that I’ve investigated at some level over the years.
I’m a very curious person and I immerse myself in one thing after another. It all accumulates into a broad knowledge base, which comes in very handy in the wine business.
What does it mean to you be a Garagiste?
It means the freedom to do my winemaking the way I choose to and not having to answer to corporate shareholders and that kind of thing. It’s just the way I’ve always researched and built my wines, and about the only way I know how to do it.
What projects are you working on that you’re especially excited about and want to share?
I’m also exploring some new territories of different wines and different options using what would normally be the waste products in a winery. These might include the lees in the bottom of the barrels… a wine project that didn’t turn out as well as expected… the remaining wine left in the bottles from the tasting room… that kind of thing.
All of it can go to the brandy program, and another benefit is that it helps alleviate a hazardous materials problem — the approach is almost making us a zero carbon footprint winery.
My approach to winemaking is to try to get the full potential out of every grape. We also tend to lean a little towards the riper end of the ripeness spectrum, so our alcohols tend to be a little higher due to higher sugar accumulation, but at the same time — like your vine-ripened tomato — that flavor and aroma really gets packed in that last week or two of the ripening process. We want to capture that and bring out the full potential of each wine.
Most of my bottlings are single varietal, stand-alone wines, so that my customers can then familiarize themselves with the characteristic flavors and aromas of each specific grape.
That way, when they go and taste blends, they can explore the idea of “Gee, I can taste the Cabernet in this, or I can taste the Merlot here,” and experience the different aspects each grape can bring to a blend. It’s kind of like auditioning soloists and then you put your band together later.